Bristol City manager Lee Johnson is relishing the prospect of tackling all-conquering Manchester City in the League Cup semi-finals after his side dumped holders Manchester United out of the competition.
Korey Smith struck in stoppage time to earn second-tier City a 2-1 win over United at Ashton Gate on Wednesday after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had canceled out Joe Bryan’s 51st-minute opener.
The Championship side will now face runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City over two legs, but has also seen his team eliminate Watford, Stoke and Crystal Palace, Johnson cannot wait.
“It keeps everybody talking, it keeps the city buzzing and all of the press that the players get, they deserve,” Johnson said.
“It will be amazing for the players, first and foremost, to test themselves, but also for myself and the fans to hopefully have two great days.
“From when I was (manager) at Oldham, which was just around the corner, I’ve been let in on a number of occasions. It (Manchester City) is a beast of an organization, but it is so fascinating.
“You see the football that they play — it’s unbelievable to watch.”
Johnson celebrated Smith’s 93rd-minute winner by racing down the touchline and then swinging a jubilant ball-boy into the air.
“Someone said I’d picked up my bigger brother! I didn’t know what to do. Laugh, cry, cuddle each other, no-one knew,” Johnson said.
“I was going to run on the pitch, then realised I couldn’t. So it was great to see him (the ball-boy). I needed to celebrate with someone.
“To beat Manchester United at home is a historic occasion and that Korey Smith goal at the end will live in the memory for many generations.
“You don’t beat Manchester United if you are Bristol City unless every single player is doing a man and a half’s job. These players now will have a bond forever.”
United manager Jose Mourinho felt Bristol City had been a “a bit lucky” to prevail in the game, but described their win as a “beautiful day for football”.
Chelsea faces Arsenal in the other semi-final.